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Last Updated: Friday, 8 September 2006, 17:26 GMT 18:26 UK
Laura Lospitao Pastor
Laura Lospitao Pastor
Name: Laura Lospitao Pastor
Age: 23
Lives: Madrid, Spain
Works: Student, translator

I was at home with my mother when the attacks happened. She was sitting on the sofa, watching television.

Suddenly she asked: "What film is this?" I leant over and saw what I thought was a trailer for an action film - an image of a plane hitting a sky scraper.

But then I saw another plane fly into the building. I began to feel cold as I realised that this wasn't a film. It was the news.

I always had the idea that America was somehow invincible.

But if such a thing could happen in America, then it could happen anywhere. And the thought that there were people who were so desperate that they would kill themselves together with so many innocent people was terrifying.

But in the years that followed America made mistakes. It was not a good idea to go into Afghanistan and Iraq. It meant that more innocent people had to die.

People have become less trusting and more suspicious of foreigners
The cure turned out to be worse than the disease.Our nation too was dragged into the 'war on terror'. When Spain sent soldiers to Iraq it seemed that Spanish people didn't want them to go.

There were demonstrations across the country, just like there were in London. Many Spanish people felt something bad was going to happen, yet the government went on with the decision to send troops.

Then we had the Madrid train bombings. March 11 has the same significance for us as 11 September has for people in America. A whole rush of feelings filled me on that day - anger, fear, confusion.

I was supposed to go to a conference for translators, but I was feeling unusually tired and stayed at home. If I'd gone I would have been on one of those trains. It makes you feel very strange when you know you were so close to death.

Hundreds of thousands fill a central square in Madrid protesting against the train bombings
For almost a month I didn't use public transport. Even today I feel nervous about using trains. I do blame the Spanish government. They should have listened to the people of Spain.

A government should follow the will of its people and not just do what it wants to do. Unfortunately, I believe the world has changed for the worse in the five years since 9/11.

People have become less trusting and more suspicious of immigrants and foreigners. The police in Spain tend to search the backpacks of foreigners first.

Even if they are from places most unlikely to produce terrorists. This is evident in people's attitude towards foreigners, especially if they look Middle Eastern.

I can see it in the Madrid underground - Spanish people sitting on one side of the carriage and foreigners and immigrants - on the other. I would like to think things will get better over the next five years.

But governments have to be more positive. They have tried war and that has failed. We need to solve problems rather than seek revenge.

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